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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

The Effect of Listener Accent Background on Accent Perception and Comprehension

EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing20072007:076030

  • Received: 8 January 2007
  • Accepted: 26 August 2007
  • Published:


Variability of speaker accent is a challenge for effective human communication as well as speech technology including automatic speech recognition and accent identification. The motivation of this study is to contribute to a deeper understanding of accent variation across speakers from a cognitive perspective. The goal is to provide perceptual assessment of accent variation in native and English. The main focus is to investigate how listener's accent background affects accent perception and comprehensibility. The results from perceptual experiments show that the listeners' accent background impacts their ability to categorize accents. Speaker accent type affects perceptual accent classification. The interaction between listener accent background and speaker accent type is significant for both accent perception and speech comprehension. In addition, the results indicate that the comprehensibility of the speech contributes to accent perception. The outcomes point to the complex nature of accent perception, and provide a foundation for further investigation on the involvement of cognitive processing for accent perception. These findings contribute to a richer understanding of the cognitive aspects of accent variation, and its application for speech technology.


  • Acoustics
  • Speech Recognition
  • Complex Nature
  • Cognitive Processing
  • Human Communication


Authors’ Affiliations

The Center for Robust Speech Systems, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, TX 75083-0688, USA


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© A. Ikeno and J. H. L. Hansen. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.